Review: Libeled Lady (1936)


I think I libel all the time, that may not be smart to admit on my part!

Screenplay By: George Oppenheimer, Howard Emmett Rogers & Maurine Dallas Watkins
Directed By: Jack Conway

As tiresome as I may sound to most people, comedy is a tricky thing. Libeled Lady has moments when it is funny, but it also has plenty of moments where the jokes fall flat. It’s really as simple as that with Libeled Lady, there isn’t a need for a deep analysis, it’s a comedy that works in some parts and doesn’t work in others. All of the actors and actresses suffer the same fate, they have moments where they make you laugh and moments where you are left stone faced by their attempts at humor.

The story of Libeled Lady is pretty inoffensive, but it isn’t that strong of a story. I did have some problems with the initial idea, the entire fake marriage set-up, because I didn’t believe the set-up for a second. But, Libeled Lady is a screwball comedy, so it doesn’t have to have the tightest of plots or best structured of stories. As long as it makes you laugh then it has delivered as a screwball comedy. But, like I keep on saying, Libeled Lady delivers in some moments and doesn’t deliver in others.

Libeled Lady is a middle of the run comedy, and a lesser screwball comedy from an era when Hollywood was busy churning out screwball comedy after screwball comedy. It won’t hurt you to stop and watch Libeled Lady if you stumble across it one night on TCM, but there’s no need to go out of your way to see Libeled Lady.




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